Article title Double Standards in the Use by Ukrainian Courts of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights
Authors
Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 2/2018
Сторінки [170-184]
DOI https://doi.org/10.33498/louu-2018-02-170
Annotation

The court practice comprises different understanding of the place and role of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950 (hereinafter – the Convention) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter – ECtHR) in the context of the Ukrainian legal system, and this entails negative implications for the protection of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms. Some courts assert that only ECtHR judgments in cases against Ukraine are the source of law in Ukraine, while others also refer to judgments against other States. In some cases, courts use legal positions of the ECtHR when it is clear that application of national law will entail a violation of the Convention’s requirements. In other cases, courts do not accept arguments of the parties that the ECtHR’s legal positions should be used arguing that national law provides for a different procedure of case resolution. The purpose of this article is to prove that the Convention as a statute of higher legal force as regards national law should be applied to the extent similar to the correlation of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms entrenched in the Constitution of Ukraine to the relevant rights provided for in the Convention; the article also aims at arguing that the ECtHR judgments rendered in cases against Ukraine as well as against other States may be used by courts as a weighty justification in favor of legal positions determined by national courts, and are the source of law in Ukraine and do not require legislative recognition. The constitutional level of the Convention, together with the EChHR case law, puts it into a special place in the national legal system and judicial practice of Ukraine which is nevertheless limited by the supremacy of the Constitution of Ukraine. The Convention as a legal standard for the protection of human and citizen’s rights should be taken into account to the same extent as human rights enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine correlate with the Convention. Legal positions of the ECtHR, which are individual in terms of factual circumstances of the case and their legal qualification from the perspective of national law, make their automatic use impossible in a specific case within the framework of other national legal systems. They form a legal standard which explains why a particular judgment was rendered in a particular case, i.e. what we call “case in precedent” (stare decisis) or the concept of “settled court practice” (jurisprudence constante), and in any case are inextricably linked with the act interpreted. The ECtHR case law has weight in the context of law interpretation by national courts, and thus in the hierarchy of sources of law the ECtHR acts are at the same level as the Convention, since they are its continuation, in the same manner as provisions of current laws of Ukraine which are interpreted by national courts. In particular, a legal standard established by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine by interpreting the Constitution of Ukraine becomes its integral part. Accordingly, legal standards of the ECtHR or any other court are present at each level of the hierarchy of statutory instruments within the framework of different national legal systems. Therefore, the ECtHR judgments rendered in cases against Ukraine as well as against other States are the source of law in Ukraine and do not need any “additional” legislative recognition.

Keywords source of law; Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; case law of the European Court of Human Rights; binding nature
References

List of legal documents

 

Legislation

1. Konstytutsiia Ukrainy [Constitution of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vid 28 chervnia 1996 r. № 254k/96-VR. URL: http://zakon0.rada.gov.ua/laws/ show/254%D0%BA/96-%D0%B2%D1%80 (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

2. Konventsiia pro zakhyst prav liudyny i osnovopolozhnykh svobod [Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms] vid 4 lystopada 1950 r.: ratyfikovano Zakonom Ukrainy [Ratified by the Law of Ukraine] vid 17 lypnia 1997 r. № 475/97-VR. URL: http://zakon3.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/995_004 (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

3. Pro mizhnarodni dohovory Ukrainy [On International Treaties of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vid 29 chervnia 2004 r. № 1906-IV. URL: http://zakon3.rada. gov.ua/laws/show/1906-15 (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

4. Pro vykonannia rishen ta zastosuvannia praktyky Yevropeiskoho sudu z prav liudyny [On Implementation of Judgments and Application of the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vid 23 liutoho 2006 r. № 3477-IV. URL: http://zakon2.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/3477-15 (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

Cases

5. Konstytutsiine podannia Upovnovazhenoho Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy z prav liudyny shchodo ofitsiinoho tlumachennia statti 9 Konstytutsii Ukrainy [Constitutional Petition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine’s Ombudsman for Human Rights Concerning Official Interpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine] vid 5 zhovtnia 2017 r. № 1-2245/17-107. URL: http://www.ccu.gov.ua/sites/default/files/5_4117.pdf (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

6. Rishennia Konstytutsiinoho Sudu Ukrainy vid 1 chervnia 2016 r. № 2-rp/2016 u spravi za konstytutsiinym podanniam Upovnovazhenoho Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy z prav liudyny shchodo vidpovidnosti Konstytutsii Ukrainy (konstytutsiinosti) polozhennia tretoho rechennia chastyny pershoi statti 13 Zakonu Ukrainy “Pro psykhiatrychnu dopomohu” (sprava pro sudovyi kontrol za hospitalizatsiieiu nediiezdatnykh osib do psykhiatrychnoho zakladu) [Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Dated June 1, 2016 № 2-rp/2016 in the Case Following the Constitutional Petition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine’s Ombudsman for Human Rights Concerning the Compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (Constitutionality) of the Provision Set Forth in the Third Sentence of Part One, Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “On Psychiatric Care” (Case of Judicial Control over Legally Incapable Persons Hospitalization to a Psychiatric Institution)] (sprava № 1-1/2016). URL: http://www.ccu.gov.ua/sites/ default/files/ndf/2-rp2016.pdf (accessed: 03.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

7. Rishennia Konstytutsiinoho Sudu Ukrainy vid 8 veresnia 2016 r. № 6-rp/2016 u spravi za konstytutsiinym podanniam Upovnovazhenoho Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy z prav liudyny shchodo vidpovidnosti Konstytutsii Ukrainy (konstytutsiinosti) polozhen chastyny p’iatoi statti 21 Zakonu Ukrainy “Pro svobodu sovisti ta relihiini orhanizatsii” (sprava pro zavchasne spovishchennia pro provedennia publichnykh bohosluzhin, relihiinykh obriadiv, tseremonii ta protsesii) [Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Dated September 8, 2016 № 6-rp/2016 in the Case Following the Constitutional Petition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine’s Ombudsman for Human Rights Concerning the Compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine (Constitutionality) of Provisions of Part Five, Article 21 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” (Case of Early Notification about the Holding of Public Worship Services, Religious Rites, Ceremonies and Processions)] (sprava № 1-13/2016). URL: http://www.ccu.gov.ua/sites/default/files/docs/6-pn-2016.pdf (acces sed: 03.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

8. Rishennia Konstytutsiinoho Sudu Ukrainy vid 9 lypnia 1998 r. № 12-rp/98 u spravi za konstytutsiinym zvernenniam Kyivskoi miskoi rady profesiinykh spilok shchodo ofitsiinoho tlumachennia chastyny tretoi statti 21 Kodeksu zakoniv pro pratsiu Ukrainy (sprava pro tlumachennia termina “zakonodavstvo”) [Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Dated July 9, 1998 № 12-rp/98 in the Case Following the Constitu - tional Petition of the Kyiv City Council of Trade Unions Concerning Official Interpretation of Part Three, Article 21 of the Labor Code of Ukraine (Case of Interpretation of the Term “Legislation”)] (sprava № 17/81-97; № 1-1/98). URL: http://zakon5.rada. gov.ua/laws/show/v012p710-98 (accessed: 01.02.2018) (in Ukrainian).

 

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Newspaper articles

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